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Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell
19 September 2006
Australian Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell has received a new submission from the proponents of the Bald Hills wind farm.
The submission has been made following the agreement between Senator Campbell and the wind farm proponents in August this year to withdraw from legal action to allow a new proposal to be put forward.
Senator Campbell said the information would be assessed thoroughly and as promptly as possible.
"I want all stakeholders to have the opportunity to have their say. Public submissions will be accepted for 21 days from 20 September (tomorrow). The submission from Bald Hills Wind Farm Pty Ltd can be seen on my Department website www.deh.gov.au from close of business tomorrow," he said.
"As part of this consultation process, I will be seeking a vital missing piece of information and that is the full report by the Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment into the wind farm proposal, a report which found the proposed facility would increase the level of threat to the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot.
"The Bald Hills wind farm proposal will increase the level of threat to the Orange-bellied Parrot…A conservative approach is therefore required which acknowledges that this proposed development will increase the cumulative risk to the species posed by the wind farm industry"
(The Age, 29 July 2006, quoting the Victorian Government Department of Sustainability and Environment report)
"This report has been kept hidden by Victorian Planning Minister Rob Hulls for 1005 days - the same Minister who has for 490 days been sitting on information about the proposed Dollar wind farm, just 30 km from the Bald Hills site.
"The hypocrisy of the Bracks Labor Government over this issue has been breathtaking, with Mr Hulls making cheap political capital out of my decision on Bald Hills while he choked off the approvals process for a similar facility just down the road and kept secret advice warning about a real threat to a critically endangered species.
"My original decision to reject the Bald Hills wind farm was based on the Biosis cumulative impact study, which found that one orange bellied parrot a year could be killed. This report concluded that while the impact of wind turbine collisions on the parrot - of which there are less
than 50 breeding pairs left in the world - may be small, almost any negative impact on the species could be enough to tip it into extinction.
"I have made this report publicly available - unlike Mr Hulls, who has hidden the similar advice he received from his own department. It's about time the Bracks Government stopped playing political games and started putting good environmental outcomes at the top of their agenda."
Rob Broadfield (02) 6277 7640 or 0409 493 902